Some might call it the final degradation of The Gray Lady. A print copy of The New York Times Sunday Edition features an article by Kevin Roose datelined Martinsburg, WV. It’s a tale of woe from a recovering conservative titled, “The Making of a YouTube Radical.” As a newspaper equivalent to Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu in length, this above-the-fold front page stem-winder uses a confused young man’s anecdotal evidence to cast aspersions on the political right. If you closed your eyes and had someone read it, you’d swear they were narrating BuzzFeed’s latest scoop.
But that might disparage BuzzFeed.
Desperate “Times” call for Desperate Measures
It’s understood that print newspapers have fallen on hard times and that lay-offs are frequent and painful. However, stooping to such depths to remain relevant seems tawdry for what once was considered a national newspaper of record. Originally established as a penny paper in 1851, The Times set out to “avoid sensationalism and report the news in a restrained and objective fashion,” and was always designed for the “cultured, intellectual reader,” according to the Encyclopedia Britannica. Sunday’s front page provides forensic proof – beyond a shadow of a doubt – that The Times no longer eschews sensationalism, though it does still adhere to its target audience. (RELATED: Mark Zuckerberg Wants His Own Cryptocurrency — What Could Possibly Go Wrong?)
This brings us to poor Caleb Cain, who told the publication he “fell down the alt-right rabbit hole” and “was brainwashed.” He is “scarred” after having been “radicalized” by a “decentralized cult of the far-right.” And how, pray tell, did Mr. Cain become politically born again? Why, through a demonic algorithm on the internet platform YouTube.
As our hero tells it, he was aimlessly searching for video game content when – “Oh no, Mr. Bill!” – up popped a far-right video in the sidebar. YouTube’s algorithms are “responsible for more than 70 percent of all time spent on the site,” writes the author. As the saga continues, we discover that Mr. Cain was “seduced by a community of far-right creators.” Moreover, Roose asserts that “critics and independent researchers say YouTube has inadvertently created a dangerous on-ramp to extremism by combining two things: a business model that rewards provocative videos and exposure and advertising dollars, and an algorithm that guides users down personalized paths meant to keep them glued to their screens.”
Our hero had no choice. His brain had a meltdown. He was powerless against the mighty and nefarious forces of YouTube. Such manipulation and trickery “sucked [him] into a vortex of far-right politics,” writes Roose. The Times even goes so far as to print a timeline of Mr. Cain’s psychotic journey into the world of the alt-right. Then, praise the Lord, our hero found the light. “Mr. Cain, 26, recently swore off the alt-right nearly five years after discovering it and has become a vocal critic of the movement,” according to the article.
One could say our hero was born again – again.
Extremism Rules the Internet
As social media platforms across the internet wrestle with this so-called “growth of extremism,” they have responded by banning and demonetizing those they consider to be “far-right influencers.” Thus, Alex Jones‘ Infowars and most recently, Steven Crowder have been given the heave-ho. But the powers that be at YouTube claim that Crowder could be reinstated if he cleans up his act. In other words, Mr. Crowder, toe the line, or you’ll be treated to the jackboot of the YouTube Stasi. YouTube commands, “Put that dunce cap on. Sit in the corner and think very hard about your behavior. But above all, do as we say, or else.” Gone is the First Amendment, which holds political speech in high regard. In its place are the rubrics of the leftist social media platforms whose edict is: Obey, or you will be shunned.
Read the rest at Liberty Nation.